Non-runner Nancy

More and more women take up running. Who are these women, and what makes them want to run? From now on: portraits of Running Moms! For our third portrait of running moms, meet Nancy!

Let's see, where to start. I am married to a great guy and have two sweet little boys who love to ask if I'm racing this weekend. They also like to sit on the porch and wait for the latest long run achievement.

I have a doctorate in pharmacy and work for a major pharmaceutical company doing local outcomes research, education, and quality improvement. I have so many things I love to do that I can't possibly do them all - running, camping, gardening, reading, knitting, working out, scrapping and any kind of craft, golfing, cooking, entertaining........ Oh yeah, I'm 40.

How old were you when you started to run?

I ran a very little bit before my first child (enough to do the Komen 5k every year) and more between kids.
After my second about three years ago, I started to run a little more. Just about a year ago, I started running with more consistency. I had a few failed attempts earlier in my life. 

Why did you take up running?

Trying to burn calories!! However, I get hooked on the latest achievement, whether it is a distance or a PR.

How many hours do you spend on running during the week?

Three to four most of the time, although it can easily be more or less depending on what is going on. 

Do you walk alone or in a group?

I run mostly alone but do have a couple of buddies I sometimes meet up with, mostly dependent on our schedules. I get a little nervous about running with people. I think it is a lack of self confidence: will I be able to hang in there? Most people are faster than me so it pushes me to run with others. This can be really good but it also makes me nervous! However, I've had some of my more fun and memorable runs with those two buddies. We talk about everything and anything and encourage each other.
What motivates you to go for a run?

Well, several things. I actually teach motivational interviewing, so I could give you some scientific crap, but basically it boils down to what wins out. What do you want bad enough at that moment. Mostly I don't want to lose my base and have to start over, but I do it for exercise and health ( I have a lot of risk in my family ), and because I love to talk about it.

It makes me feel great to tell someone I just did a 10 miler. I particularly like those "you crazy lady" looks you get when you are cracking out miles in a big rain. Keeping a mileage log is simple but it also motivates me. I don't want to look at my numbers later and be disappointed. It's also a great time to enjoy nature and some time to de-stress. I'm not necessarily a great thinker when I run, I don't usually problem-solve, but I do really spend time appreciating what I have been given.

Do you find there's a difference between physical en psychological reasons to go running?

There's certainly a difference in the reasons, but it is all psychological in the end, in that, it depends on what you are thinking about that makes you get out the door. You certainly can reap both psychological and physical benefits.

What does running mean to you?

It's something I do for me and for my health, but it means so much more. I'm very very slow so it is a challenge -- it is something I do because I enjoy it and want to, but it challenges me also. I have never been so bad at something and kept such a positive attitude.

It has become a metaphor for life in that way for me. I can get really down if I try something and it doesn't work. But like a bad run, you figure out what you can learn, you don't beat yourself up and you move on. Failure is information for next time. Despite that I am slow, I feel so much stronger and confident because I run. Running has also introduced me to some really neat people that I would never have met. It's really been a great thing for me on many levels.

Do you see parallels between running and motherhood?

Similar to my last answer, I'm not perfect, maybe not even good much of the time, but I love it, it makes me feel great and I keep learning as I go. 

Would you recommend running to your child?

Absolutely, we actually do some little sprints around the neighborhood now (my kids are 3 and 5 years old) and they love it. They also know that running is part of Mommy's life and love to ask about it. They often ask me if I won my race!

What makes you participate in a marathon?

I tried to do a plan for a full marathon last year but I have major difficulties with my feet. I made it up to 13 miles in training and decided that I could not go up any further, at least until I got some help. I did PT and got some orthotics and completed a half marathon last year. I still have enough difficulties that I'm not sure my feet can handle a full but I do love the half distance. That feeling of accomplishment of such a big goal keeps me going.

What does racing mean to you in general?

Racing is exciting and fun and painful and emotional all wrapped up into one! The main reason I race is because it really helps me to have something on the calendar but it is exciting and addicting too. I went through a period when I didn't have anything and I slacked off. I actually created my own race with other blogger friends to get myself back on track!

Are you running for an official prize?

My prize is usually to finish, to not be last, maybe to improve a time....they are personal prizes. They have to be when you are as slow as I am!!

How do you view your future as a runner?

I hope to keep doing it for a long time and keep improving. Maybe if I do it long enough and the base catches up to my feet, I will do a full marathon.

Do you run with music?

Yes and no. I used to run with it on all my long runs, but then I had a particularly good run without it (mentally) and haven't run with it as much since. I like to enjoy and appreciate everythng around me but music can really get me going sometimes too.

What do you think about Paula Radcliffe?

Mostly jealousy :D

Do you have a favourite book about running?

John Bingham's Courage to Start is definitely my favorite. It is very down-to-earth and practical and he is very much about appreciating and celebrating whatever you can do. I frequently go back to the chapter on racing before a race. I recommend it to everyone, not those that are just starting. I quote (well paraphrase) from it some when encouraging others, too!

Do you have a favourite brand of running shoes?

Brooks. As I said, I have bad feet. I wear supercharged orthotics and Brooks Adrenaline. I've been through numerous fittings and trials, I thought the local place might throw me out. My feet seem to do the best for the moment in Brooks.

You keep a blog about running. Why do you keep a blog?

Blogging has done a lot for me. I've met some really great supportive and helpful people on-line. The blog is such a fun creative outlet for me. But those are all things that happened after I started getting into it more. I started it originally to keep me excited about running and capture my marathon training.

It turned out to mean so much more. I got my moniker from a book about taking non-runners to marathoners. I use the blog to really work on what I discussed earlier about learning from my running and how can I translate it to more positivity and effectiveness in the rest of my life. The book had a great quote which I incorporated into my blog.  

'One of the things that has become clear to us through working with people training for the marathon is that in order to maintain a positive attitude about raining and running, it is necessary to develop a positive attitude about life in general.'

The Non-Runner's Marathon Trainer.

People are always saying I shouldn't call myself non-runner but you can see why it has meaning to me.

I saw you organize virtual races! How did you get that idea?

As I mentioned, I needed to have something on the calendar after my half. I started to slack off without a plan and a race. I mentioned to a fellow blogger who was talking about the same thing that we should just create our own. That's how they started. I've done 3 and thoroughly enjoy the planning and creativity behind the theme and logo as well as the run and the race reports. They seem to sort of unite us also, which is a great feeling.

Do you have a message for al the moms out there who are thinking about taking up running?

Running can make you feel stronger and more confident and sets a great example for your kids. You also get some me time which can be pretty important. My husband gave me some great advice about everything I try to do. Don't think of it as juggling, think of it as balancing. Lots of things are important, but to your kids, you and your health are just about number one. YOU CAN DO IT!!

Want to read more about Nancy?

Visit her blog!

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